On 6 December 2022, Jakarta passed a controversial law criminalising extramarital sex within Indonesian territories. In this policy article, in response to Indonesia’s recent criminalisation of extramarital sex, the author problematises how such legislation compounds domestic sex workers’ encounters with poverty. Then, the author visits Indonesia’s minimum tolerance of prostitution, arguing how such an impractical policy hinders Jakarta from eradicating the socioeconomic root causes of prostitution. Next, the author suggests policy directions that Jakarta should take into account in order to deconstruct the problems of underprivileged, marginalised and impoverished women and girls entering the sex industry. Here the author emphasises that Indonesia can deny the recognition of prostitutes, but it has to recognise prostitutes as local citizens. Therefore, social protection schemes designated for domestic citizens should be made accessible on a gender-blind basis, regardless of beneficiaries’ socioeconomic backgrounds.